The courts and the legislature have been hard at work pushing an Americanized version of theocratic right-wing ideology. This summer, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion opened the door to finding many more rights like gay marriage unconstitutional, as he argued such rights should be reconsidered. Right now, though, the Supreme Court is reconsidering the status of affirmative action.
On Monday, the judges spent time considering cases that concern affirmative action and the college admissions process—Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. As you might expect, conservative justices are finding ways to rule utilizing affirmative action for admissions is unconstitutional. This would strike down decades of precedent while also endangering affirmative action in other contexts, such as employment. In the end, students get admitted into colleges because of what they can do for the institution, which is also the way employment works.
I would go as far as to say there’s never been a student admitted into a competitive university just because of their race. That is a red herring used by racists who cannot fathom a Black person being better than them at anything. It’s the only way to rationalize that perhaps one is not the superior race. The thing people get confused about when it comes to admissions at four-year colleges is they aren’t based solely on your merit and haven’t been for a long time. Colleges want students to become great representatives of their schools so the institutions can become more prestigious, make more money from tuition, and hopefully, make some money back from alumni. A school may say they like diverse applicants because they are true champions of diversity and rigorous academic experiences, but in the long run, diversity helps colleges. Perhaps that’s the way it should be.
With GPA, extracurriculars, class rank, test scores, and a whole host of factors, how do you fairly and accurately compare tens of thousands of freshmen applicants each year solely based on merit? How do you quantify this? You can’t. You pick and choose students with strengths and weaknesses from different backgrounds and come together with an entire pool that you find impressive. That’s how it works. Even if a couple of Black and brown students get a leg up when they’ve scored 40 points less on the SAT, let’s not kid ourselves: White students start way closer to the finish line in life from the get-go.